Whether you’re travelling across the country with your family to see the sights of Australia, or you’re on a long-haul flight for one of those tedious business meetings, you’ve probably experienced some sort of stiffness or pain in the neck along the way (no, not those energetic kids in the backseat)!
Here are three handy tips to keep in mind, for the next time you travel:
- Take a Break
A common problem that is associated with all the varying travel methods available is the lack of space that is provided for us to move. Naturally, with a lack of space, there is a restriction on our ability to change positions. Maintaining a particular position will cause the muscles surrounding the neck to fatigue, therefore resulting in pain! So, as a general rule of thumb (and I know this will draw out the arrival time) try and have a break every hour if travelling by car, allowing you to get out and walk around, and change those nasty positions. If in a plane, every 30 minutes to walk up and down the aisle a few times would be perfect!
- Stretch it out
Tight and fatigued muscles love to be stretched! To maintain full range of motion, every 30-60 minutes, look over each shoulder 3-5 times; look up and down 3-5 times, and tilt you head for side to side 3-5 times.
- Use Supports
Cervical pillows (C-shape pillows) are a great way to aid the postural muscles at the back of the neck, whether in a car or on a plane. They must be large enough to support the natural curve of the neck, but not so large that the roll pushes the entire body away from the seat. They should also have large enough side cushioning to prevent excessive side flexion and support the neck when sleeping.
Matthew Dean – Physiotherapist